The Kardashians don’t even come close. Here is why Queen Elizabeth is the original and the ultimate influencer. Along with royal pardons, the British monarch gave her approval to Jaguar, Cadbury, and Aston Martin.

Queen Elizabeth: the original influencer? Photo: @theroyalfamily/Instagram

We all know the queen isn’t like the rest of us. Being one of the most recognised people in the world and a member of a family with a genealogy that stretches back over a 1,000 years (to Alfred the Great, King of the Anglo-Saxons), she holds a number of powers which range from the sublime to the downright bizarre. Here are a few …

The British monarch has been granting the royal warrants since the 15th century, which are often taken to meet products and services of the highest quality. Photo: PA Wire

The queen is the ultimate influence
Think the Kardashians are the first and foremost in the world of celeb endorsements? Think again! British monarchs, and those authorised by them, have been recognising quality products and services supplied to the royal households in the form of Royal Warrants of Appointment. Awarded since the 15th century, receiving the royal nod means reaching the pinnacle in one’s industry or profession.

Chocolate major Cadbury received its first Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1854. Photo: @CadburyWorld/ Twitter

Cadbury, Twinings, Bollinger, Fortnum & Mason, Heinz, Tanqueray Gordon & Co and Schweppes are just a few of the famous food and drink brands that have received warrants, whilst you’d be in royal company if you use anything from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Boots, Paragon China or even Yardley of London.

Ted Hughes was the last Poet Laureate to enjoy a lifetime appointment in the position. Photo: AP Photo

She appoints the Poet Laureate – and pays him with sherry
One of the queen’s prerogatives is the appointment of the Poet Laureate. The post is awarded to a poet whose work is of “national significance”. The current holder of the position is Simon Armitage who, in part payment for his services to the crown, is entitled to a barrel of sherry! He most recently penned a poem to mark the passing of the queen’s husband, Prince Philip.

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The state opening of parliament is marked by pomp and pageantry and is steeped in tradition. Photo: PA Wire

She declares the parties open
The opening of parliament is a great affair in Britain dating back to the late 14th century, filled with pomp, circumstance and pageantry. From the queen riding to the Palace of Westminster in the Irish State Coach, to entering the House of Lords bedecked in all her finery, the affair is steeped in tradition.

Interestingly, one power in relation to her parliament that the queen does not have is the power to enter the House of Commons, where the elected representatives of the British people sit. Ever since King Charles I entered the house in 1642 with armed guards to arrest sitting MPs, no monarch has been allowed in the chamber. That is why the queen commands the members to attend her in the House of Lords.

Queen Elizabeth granted a posthumous royal pardon to Alan Turing over 60 years after his conviction for “gross indecency” in 1952. Photo: @deductioniis/Twitter

She can pardon criminals
As with most heads of state, the queen does hold the power to pardon criminals, known as the “royal pardon”, but as with many of her powers, she doesn’t use this particular one too often, preferring to leave the granting of pardons and clemencies to her government ministers. In 2013, however, a special case did arise that saw Queen Elizabeth grant a posthumous pardon to Alan Turing (the subject of the film The Imitation Game), the World War II codebreaker who was convicted of “gross indecency”.

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A law defining whales, sturgeon, dolphins and porpoises caught within 5km of the UK shores as royal fish was passed in 1324, making all such creatures property of the monarch. Photo: AFP

Move aside, King Triton
Thanks to a law dating all the way back to 1324, the monarch technically owns a large amount of the creatures in Britain’s oceans. This includes all the dolphins, sturgeon, whales and porpoises, which are designated as “royal fish”. According to the law, when such animals are caught within 5km (three miles) of the UK’s coastline, they may be claimed on behalf of the Crown.

The annual Swan Upping ceremony counts swans along the River Thames where royal servants and permitted owners catch swans, check them for marks, and release them. Photo: AP Photo

She can swan around
And it’s not just the seas the queen holds dominion over. When it comes to swans, she’s the queen of them too! In law, all swans in unmarked open water belong to the sovereign, although, according to the royal family’s website, the queen only “exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries”. Even today, there is an annual ceremony held on the River Thames called Swan Upping, in which the birds are caught and tagged for the purposes of a census.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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